Policy

Mongolia amends the Constitution

2019  |  October   |  024

  •  Land subsoil, forests, water resources, and fauna shall be State public property

 

The Parliament amends and approves 19 articles and 36 clauses of the Constitution of Mongolia. The Constitutional amendment to be in effect from May next year made major changes related to the President, Cabinet and judicial system. The hottest topic in the country’s socio-political sphere in the past five months, the amendment bill plays a crucial role in correcting past errors and resolving future challenges, as viewed by the Parliament members. While numerous clauses were added or revised to reflect various stakeholder interests following lengthy discussions of the draft, the main principles of the Constitution remain intact, as highlighted by D. Lundeejantsan, Head of the Working Group on Constitutional Amendment Bill.    

This is the first since the amendment of 2000. After several years of deliberation and successive Parliaments, 62 members of Parliament led by D. Lundeejantsan introduced the Bill to Parliament last June. The bill was read for more than five months and after securing 306 thousand votes from the public and around 600 votes from political parties and academics, it was finally passed by the Parliament session on November 14, 2019, marking a historic milestone. 

There is a chance of failure when it comes to solving one of the biggest issues of the past decade

Let’s highlight some of the amended clauses. For instance, clause 6.2 on natural resources was revised in the amendment bill. The previous clause stated “The land except that in citizen’s private ownership, as well as the subsoil with its mineral wealth, forests, water resources, and game, is the property of the State”, which was amended to “The land, except that in private ownership of the citizens of Mongolia, as well as the land subsoil, forests, water resources, and fauna shall be State public property. The Government policy on the use of natural resources must be based on long-term development policy and must be aimed towards safeguarding the rights of present and future generations of citizens to live in a healthy and safe environment and concentrating revenues from natural resources into the Sovereign Wealth Fund and distributing them equally. Under its right to live in a healthy and safe environment, the citizen of Mongolia shall have the right to access information on environmental impacts from the use of natural resources. 

The principle of equally distributing the profits from natural resources among each individual citizen must be upheld. Operation of strategic mineral deposits shall be regulated by law in such a principle as to be owned by the people and the majority of the revenues therefrom to be allocated to the people.”

It’s unclear how the new clause would affect minerals companies. The clauses point out that the majority of the revenues from operating strategic mineral deposits will be allocated to the people. The sentence “Operation of strategic mineral deposits shall be regulated by law in such a principle as to be owned by the people and majority of the revenues therefrom to be allocated to the people.” came out of the blue and was approved abruptly. Clearly, authorities slipped in this clause to appease public scrutiny and protest against the lack of minerals profit distribution to the people. It begs the question, however, what exactly are revenues, who are the majority and how would revenues be allocated to the people? This would, no doubt, create considerable debate. Possible negative consequences could be the inability for future major projects to open, the number of strategic deposits to increase and the successful signing of agreements on currently unused strategic deposits.    

Other major changes pertain to the improvement of the parliamentary system, including limiting to a certain extent the double role of National Parliament members as Cabinet members, withdrawing Parliament members, and preventing against Parliament’s arbitrary increase of state budget proposed by the Cabinet, as well as certain restrictions of the Parliamentary power. And finally, the most notable change is the election of the President for a single, six-year term.  


We introduce you to a summary of the amendments.
• A Party shall be assembled of no less than 1 percent of Mongolian citizens qualified to vote. Party’s organization, operational procedure, and state financial support shall be determined by law. 
• Any attempts at denying the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mongolia is unacceptable and a public referendum for such purpose shall be prohibited.
• If a member of the National Parliament member violates the Constitution, he or she shall be withdrawn.
• The procedure of the election of members of the National Parliament is determined by law. It is prohibited to amend and approve the law prior to a regular election. 
• The National Parliament may decide on its dissolution by a vote no less than two-thirds of its members, if two-thirds of its members consider that the National Parliament is unable to carry out its mandate, or if the President, in consultation with the Chairman of the National Parliament, proposes to do so for the same purpose. 
• In approving the state budget, no spending other than proposed by the Government shall be increased.
• The President, members of the National Parliament, and the Government have the right to legislative initiative and the scope is determined by law. 
• An indigenous citizen who has attained the age of fifty years and has permanently resided as a minimum for the last five years in Mongolia is eligible for election to the post of President only once.
• The Government comprises the Prime Minister and other members. The Prime Minister and no more than 4 members of the Government may be members of the National Parliament.
• The Prime Minister, in consultation with the President, submits his or her Bill on the structure and composition of the Government and on the changes thereto to the National Parliament.
• The Prime Minister appoints, releases or removes a Government member upon their presentation to the Parliament and President.
• If not less than one-fourth of the members of the National Parliament formally propose to resign the Prime Minister from office, the National Parliament shall start the discussion after 3 days and decide within 10 days. If all members of the Parliament vote in favor, the resolution is passed and the Prime Minister is considered resigned from office. The Government steps down in its entirety upon the resignation of the Prime Minister. The new Prime Minister is elected within 10 days. 


These amendments to the Constitution of Mongolia shall come into effect throughout the country as of 12:00 am May 25, 2020.  



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